• Yet another ‘grassroots sports program’



    HOW many promises have been offered before the altar of “grassroots sports program” in the Philippines?

    Each time the country flops in mediocre regional games in Southeast Asia, and don’t even get us started on the Olympic Games, the offering is made by the reigning government administration.

    The mantra is that with the “grassroots sports program” in place, the Philippines comes nearer and nearer to winning its first-ever Olympic gold medal.

    Make a creditable showing in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur first and you in the PSC are on, otherwise don’t even talk about the 2022 Tokyo Olympics.

    In a recent meeting, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez told regional and program sports coordinators of the newly-created Philippine Sports Institute to “focus on grassroots sports,” with the PSC now having a “genuine grassroots sports program [f]or the first time in 27 years,” or since 1990 during the Corazon Aquino administration yet.

    Unfortunately, a report did not mention what sports Ramirez was talking about, except to say that “[w]hat we’re doing [for Philippine sports through the ‘grassroots sports program’]is for the children and the motherland.”

    Big words but you don’t have to put the “motherland” on the table and perhaps think about the next motherhood (gotcha!) statement to bring into the mix.

    The recently concluded Palarong Pambansa just proved that whatever “grassroots sports program” the country may have had since 1948 until 1989 did not produce world droppable names other than Asian track queen Lydia de Vega.

    The Palarong Pambansa held late last month in Antique province in the Visayas—the 60th edition—once again saw the National Capital Region or Metro Manila dominating the competition and the region is hardly “grassroots.”

    If you want to talk “grassroots,” mention Tawi-Tawi province in southern Mindanao or Aparri in Cagayan province in Northern Luzon.

    The 2017 annual games where young athletes took part must have spoiled the competitors’ pride and honor after making it to the podium.

    Medals for the winners were reportedly delivered only to the venue just as the games were to wrap up in two days.

    The “motherland” must be grieving at the neglect her “children” suffered in the hands of Palaro organizers who failed the organizational and logistical tests.

    She can cry her hear out over the great possibility that the “grassroots sports program” of the Duterte administration will go the way of all flash after 2022

    The President steps down in that year and his successor’s boys and girls would probably announced another “grassroots sports program” that hopefully would be able to deliver on time the gold, silver and bronze medals won by young Filipino athletes who did not benefit from a “grassroots sports program,” if at all there was one.


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